Wednesday, August 15, 2007

California Departin' - University of California President Steps Down

Last year, we posted extensively (e.g., here, here and here, and see contained links backward) about management issues at the top of the sprawling University of California system. Now a large shoe has dropped. According to the Los Angeles Times,

University of California President Robert C. Dynes, whose four years in office have been marked by dwindling budgets and a scandal over compensation for top officials, announced Monday that he will step down by June.

Though praised by associates for his 'extraordinary intellect,' Dynes appears to have lost the support of key members of the UC Board of Regents who believe the 10-campus system must act more aggressively to maintain its excellence.

Dynes, 64, a former chancellor at UC San Diego, said he was stepping down to spend more time with his wife, Ann, a former UC San Diego campus counsel whom he married in March.

In the end, it was the university's compensation practices, including quietly awarding millions of dollars in perks to top executives without the regents' approval, that appear to have hurt him the most.

'After all the missteps and missed opportunities, Dynes has largely lost his effectiveness and his support, both above and below him,' said a university official who insisted on anonymity. 'A great guy in the wrong job at the wrong time.'

The most damaging period for Dynes came last year with revelations that UC had given top administrators millions of dollars in perks and bonuses even as it raised student fees. Many of the payments were not disclosed publicly or approved by the regents, in violation of university policy.

It is a reminder that in the long run, top managers who preside over mismanagement sometimes accrue negative consequences.

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